Hospitals prepared for potential uptick in patients due to strike


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As hundreds of nurses picket outside of Rhode Island Hospital, other area hospitals such as Roger Williams Medical Center and Kent County Hospital are preparing to take in more patients if needed.

Joe Holiver, the CEO of Prospect CharterCare, which operates Roger Williams Medical Center, said the company has made sure it is stocked with supplies and staff in case patients are diverted from Rhode Island Hospital.

“We’ve done a lot of things to prepare for this,” Holiver said.

In addition, Holiver said CharterCare plans to keep a close eye on the number of patients coming in and out of the hospital’s emergency room.

“We will know what the bed count is at every single hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

While it has not been drastic, according to Holiver, Roger Williams Medical Center has seen an increase in patients. Jim Beardsworth, a spokesperson for Care New England, said it’s a similar situation at Kent County Hospital.

“At Kent, really we’ve seen a small increase, nothing significant, and we’ve also seen a slightly small uptick in patient acuity,” Beardsworth said. “So some slightly sicker people are making their way in.”

Beardsworth said Kent Hospital has also been preparing for the strike. The facility trains for possible surges in patients, and Beardsworth said the strike means taking that preparation model and customizing it for this situation.

“All in all though, it’s nothing that we aren’t prepared for,” Beardsworth added. “Pretty much what we’ve expected and we continue to be ready and standing by, should more come through the door.”

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré tells Eyewitness News the city has also been getting ready for the strike. He said the possible diversions means an increased communication between EMS, dispatchers and area hospitals.

Both Holiver and Beardsworth said they expect to see patient numbers increase as the strike continues.

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